Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Sneak Peeks

The weather is too perfect to be cooped up inside.
So instead of getting ready for tomorrow's signing class, and instead of doing housework, I am playing outside with these...

as well as some wood furniture, decal stickers, fabric, and a staple gun.
I can't wait to share the finished projects with your guys!
Since we are anticipating lots of cousin fun this weekend (Hooray!) I'll be back next week to share.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our favorite place to hike

Sedona is the place to be in the spring. It's less than an hour drive, the temps are in the 70's, there are hundreds of trails, and the scenery never gets old.  Saturday found us geared up for a hike near Dry Creek.
 Elaina was a champ hiker!  She even took a little nap in the pack. Here she is on our lunch break, just chilling.

 Brant is always picking me flowers. Never mind that they were tiny desert wildflowers. Isn't he sweet?
Isn't the scenery stunning?
 Brant was also collecting rocks for his rock collection. And what Brant does, Donovan does.

Our hikes are always pretty slow paced, filled with lots of exploring along the way.  But that's okay with me, because I'd rather the kids love and look forward to family hikes than dread the experience.  So for now, I have plenty of time to stop and take pictures along the way. And we have ample opportunity to improve our story telling abilities since that is how we distract little minds from weary little legs at the end of the trail.
My favorite picture from the day.     

Do you have any places you go to every spring?  Are you doing any hiking? Any story telling along the trail?

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's my brother's fault

Thanks to my little brother,
I am now thoroughly confuddled.

Let me start from the beginning. In my sewing desk I had some pretty yellow and gray fabric as well as a Simplicity dress pattern.  When I got a bee in my bonnet to sew up some Easter dresses, I already had exactly what I needed and could start right away.

So I pulled out my trusty little brother, the pretty fabric, and the Simplicity dress pattern instructions. I put my scissors to work and had the perfect amount of fabric for one size 6 dress! Sweetness! (Well it would have been even sweeter to make the girls matching dresses, but I decided it might be wise to take it one garment at a time).

After following the first eight steps, I had this.
Success! Since nobody else was around, I held it up, grinned at it, and giddily said "I made this!" 
I couldn't help but count my chickens before they hatched.  You know, tell myself that nobody would guess that I made the dress and that it would be so cute and professional looking.  Once I was done dancing around and I looked at all the remaining dress pieces, I came back to earth a little.
I should have known better than to get excited about how well a project is going when I am only at the beginning of the project.  You'd never know it though by looking at the sewing directions.  I had just completed step 8 of 19. I thought I was done with the hard part and the rest was going to be a breeze. But, you know what was coming next?  Pinning the round armhole bands to the curves in the garment.
Yeah, I felt like an Apollo 13 crew member trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Once I wrestled that piece into place, I sewed it on using the 5/8 inch seam allowance that the instructions called for.

Yikes! I was left with these little tucks all around the arm band. 
Yeah, real professional looking. At this point, I was thoroughly brought back to earth.  My dress was not coming along so perfectly anymore. Please tell me this (the tucks appearing) is normal?  Or better yet, can someone tell me how to attach a piece to a curve without getting the little tucks?

I got over it. I accepted the fact that the dress would have little tucks and gathers, though it probably shouldn't, and I got ready to trim my seam and understitch it. But wait! What the heck am I supposed to do with the raw edges on the top of the arm band?
My instructions said nothing about the short length of exposed raw edges on the arm bands. I guess they were reaching their quota already for how many steps the dress was allowed to have. 
I can't iron and fold the edges in on the front and facing piece of the arm bands because they are sewed together to the front and back dress pieces.
I must have done something wrong.  Should I not have attached the facing piece?  Should I take off the facing piece (the one on the inside) and iron a 5/8 inch seam along the whole inside curve and sew it on so the seam will not be exposed and so that I can iron in the exposed seam on the top of the arm bands?

I just answered my own questions. Darn.  
I guess I need to go find my seam ripper. That exposed seam doesn't look very pretty. 
Because you know, everyone is going to ask to see the inside of Aubrey's dress. :)
Actually, I know from experience that it's itchy. On the last dress, Aubrey had to wear a tank top underneath because the raw seams irritated her skin.

Had I posted this at step ten, right about the time I was kissing my little brother and the dress, you would be hearing about how I am in love once again.
At this moment though, I am trying to decide if the blame belongs with my brother, the Simplicity pattern, or *gasp* the dress maker. 

Dear Simplicity,
Novices like myself would greatly appreciate clear instructions. Or you could simply change your name.
More Shortly,
Keilah and her little brother

Dear Readers,
Any advice from you seamstresses out there would be greatly appreciated.
Humbly Yours,
Keilah and her little brother

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My hubby's Competition

I am in love.
With my photo books.
Well, I love my hubby too, but these are something new to look at. :)

Hey, I'm not the only one who feels this way!  This was the third morning in a row that I found all the kids quietly looking through the books. I work hard at taking deep breaths and refraining from taking my loves out of their hands in order to protect them and keep them safe.

This was the latest delivery to my door.  Like I said, I'm in love.

I love the full bleed photos on a page.  I love the subjects in the photos.
I love how professional this format of photo storage looks.

Donovan can be heard saying "That's me! That's me!".

I've written about my photobooks before. Really I should have just titled that post, "Ramblings about two different brands of Photobooks", as I have stuck with MyPublisher for the last two years of our family 'albums' even though I declared Shutterfly the better choice.  I just noticed that my Shutterfly book's pages are starting to come loose at the binding. :(
You know, I did try digital scrapbooking which is fun.  But I'd rather be sewing or painting something.  So once a year (in February they usually have a great promotion where extra pages are free), I compile a book with all our photos from the previous year, adding journalling where I want. It's pretty quick (considering the amount of photos) and painless.  Ninety pages later, I have a kissable piece of perfection.

And, MyPublisher has a very cool new feature.  Extra thick pages! Well worth the extra $5 if you ask me.
The book on the left, which has the same number of pages as the middle book, has the extra thick pages. More durable books are a plus in this house, where little hands constantly peruse them.

If only my hubby knew what he was up against...
extra thick pages of our children, hard cover bound.

Maybe he should start walking around shirtless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Springing for Sunshine

Connor and Aubrey got to go to Grandma's for the first half of Spring Break.
I got this picture text on Monday.
He was so proud of that loaf of bread!
And I am so thankful that my kids get to make memories with their Grandma!

What is Spring Break without some warm weather and sunshine?
I had to travel south a bit, but I did find some almost-shorts-weather sunshine (It has to be pretty hot before I pull out my shorts, but the kids were in bathing suits!).

In Prescott Valley, I sunburned my face when I met some ladies at the park.
We took over the entire place. :)

On Thursday we met some more friends and 'hiked' Montezuma's Well.  
The 1/3 mile loop trail was just about perfect for 2 moms with 10 kids age 9 and under. :)
I thought all the fun was in seeing the kids getting excited about the place and having fun themselves.

The picnic area is great because the prehistoric irrigation canals run all around it.
Kids plus water equals hours of entertainment.
Can you spot Brant in this picture?

He was in his glory in those little streams, searching for bugs and scooping mud with his new buddy Chandler.

All the kids loved it, actually.  They stripped down to their skibbies and played for hours.  
Now before you get your undies in a bundle, let me assure you that the older ones had swim suits along and we basically had the whole picnic area to ourselves.

It was a perfect spring day.
Especially now that I look out my living room window and see two feet of snow!

Monday, March 19, 2012

10 AM Snapshots

I haven't been pulling my camera out very much lately.
It seems my hands are always full of baby.
That's a bad excuse though, and I kick myself later for not capturing more photos.
I'm working on it.

Nature's grand finale to Spring Break.

I'm dreaming of a mud room. 

You'd think they'd choose something hot for a snack.

Lai-lai is 5 1/2 months old already. She sits up by herself and she cut her first tooth yesterday! 

You'd think I was busy enough. 

And with that, happy Monday everyone!
If you are unfortunate lucky enough to live in Arizona, Happy late winter Spring!

Monday, March 12, 2012

patiently waiting for spring

It's spring break, and I am in the mood to lighten up my bedroom because you know, that's what spring is all about - fresh new colors.  I am not going to post pictures of my bedroom, but let me tell you that it is b.r.o.w.n. Yes, everything is brown; the 80's style carpet, my comforter, the wood dressers and nightstand, my wood desk, the cherry wood cradle, the wood trim, and the wood closet doors. And no I do not have curtains up yet, just some honeycomb blinds in some kind of white/gray that blend in with the walls.  Hey, at least the walls aren't brown!

Anywho, it's spring, and even though nothing is blooming up here yet, I'd love a few hundred dollars to make it look fresh and spring-y in my house.  Okay, make that a few thousand. 
No? Fine, I'll start with a few tens, five of them to be exact, and my brown but has-to-go comforter.

I love me a good deal, so I hit up Joann's with my coupon book.  Don't ever buy anything from Joann's that isn't 30-50% off, by the way. Unless you can't wait.
I'm in the middle of several other projects anyway very patient, so I waited till I could score everything on sale. And, I'm waiting to use another one of my 50% off coupons for more blue and green fabric.  (I would totally love if I could shop a warehouse. Is there such a thing? I feel like Joann's is so limited, but I also like to feel my fabrics and compare them side by side and make sure the blues are the right hue.)

So, without further ado, here's the start of my new quilt.

Yellow or no yellow? I can't decide.

I've never made a queen sized quilt before. This is going to be some project, but I can't wait to take my rotary cutter to that stack. Oh wait, that's right, I'm in the middle of several other projects very patient. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

no mother to love them

How soundly my children sleep
their healthy bodies puffing soft breath
against pillows that smell faintly of Tide

the walls of our home surround them and warm them
they do not feel hungry or afraid
they do not worry for tomorrow

the walls show their smiling faces behind frames
the fridge displays their drawings and poems
the mess on the floor shows how hard they have played

but somewhere, i know
lies an un-cherished child
perhaps hungry or cold
yet so deserving

my heart aches for that child
for the thousands, actually
that have no mother to love them
no place to call home

in the morning when things are unruly
when my child is running late and another is crying
i must remember to stop and to love them

to love them for the blessing they are
to love them for the thousands that i simply cannot

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bet you can't do this!

Ideally, every morning I would rise nice and early, get into my yoga pants, and spend twenty minutes exercising.  The silence is as therapeutic as the stretches, twists, and bends.

Just as I'm warming up though, Elaina wakes up. 

After a quick change of the diaper, she's content to play with her toes on the bed, leaving me to finish my routine. On to the hundred, the corkscrew, the spine stretch,
wait a minute...

Girl, you are making me feel geriatric; you are way too flexible!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yes, I know

Why, hello there!  It's been awhile, I know.

Yes, we are alive and well (unless you call teething not well.  I know, it is early for that! She's five months and I can already see the two teeth that are trying to pop through her gums). 

Yes, they're eyes are very blue and very beautiful. I know. And yes, I do need to wash his mouth. 

Yes, she does put up with a lot, but she loves it and she loves her brothers.

Yes, they are close. They are just over two years apart, 
and he, at 2 1/2 years old, loves nothing more than to be holding her.

Yes, his pants are on backwards.  I pick my battles.  This was not one of them.

Yes, they are both very cute. And they have very cute feet. I know.
Yes, they grow so very fast.  
Oh, how I know it!